Senator John Fetterman has checked into the hospital to be treated for clinical depression. It is known that he suffered a stroke in May last year, and many are concerned about his long-term health. He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday to receive treatment for clinical depression. According to experts, both strokes and heart attacks can affect mental health negatively in the long run.
“Both are associated with depression, both following a stroke or heart attack, but also as a precursor,” said Tom Longenecker, a clinical supervisor at Retreat Behavioral Health.
Even though Senator Fetterman has publicly admitted to depression in the past, experts say a stroke can worsen the condition.
Stressors from the event can also exacerbate depression symptoms like fatigue, listlessness, lack of motivation, and apathy, Longenecker said.
Senator Fetterman is reaching a large audience with the potential to break the stigma associated with mental health.
In terms of people in high profile, stressful situations and professions, Senator Fetterman is not in the minority. In comparison to other people in his position who have been public about advocating for his own mental health, Longenecker said he is in the minority in those who do experience major depression or significant depression.
According to experts, openness will inspire others to seek help. “So many people who have hard issues are initiating them and starting to get the help they need. And I would say anecdotally that so many people we work with wish they had done it sooner,” Longenecker said.
It can take time to find relief from depression.
“Depression does not disappear on its own. At least major depression does not fade away on its own. It requires intensive engagement, both with medication, but also therapy and other therapies,” Longenecker said.
Advocates for mental health emphasize the importance of addressing unseen mental health concerns as well as physical needs.